Unknowns and best-guesses from Roatan. Part 4: Acanthemblemaria blennies


First two photos (same individual) are the best of pics I took of fairly common tube-dwelling blennies at about 20 feet depth.  At first I thought they were secretary blennies but now am inclined towards spiny-head blennies because of the lack of branching on cirri and the green eyes. Now I am wondering if the secretary blennies I logged earlier this year in Curacao are really secretary blennies.

The next two photos (two different individuals) are something clearly different, although the habitat was similar.  These were less common and I only got a few photos.  My guess is roughhead.  I spent most of a whole dive just trying to get these pics, so I really want to know what they are.


What are the best characters

What are the best characters to distinguish secretary (A. maria) from spinyhead (A.spinosa)?

ID Secretary and Spinyhead

When the picture isn't real clear, the most obvious distinction is that The Secretaty Blenny has a white streak behind and below the eye. The Spinyhead doesn't. Secondly the Spinyhead's face is generally much whiter than the Secretaries.


Just a snorkeler, Barb

darn secretary blennies!

Paul Humann will have this straightened out once and for all in his upcoming guide. The secretary blenny is an uncommon guy found in shallow rough water with large head spines and often an orange patch on top of the head. It has been called the punk blenny before. Face markings don't help, too variable. The spinyhead is super common everywhere and accounts for 95% of all photos and observations of the two.

The long branching cirri over the eye is the roughhead, found in yellow and spotted versions, and the second most commonly seen and photographed at most Caribbean locations.

Thanks, Ben

A new Humann blenny guide is coming out?  Looking forward to it.

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